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MP3 Kathy Phillips - Carries You Away

A rootsy hook-driven sound with both country and pop elements.

11 MP3 Songs
COUNTRY: Country Pop, POP: Folky Pop

In 2001 Kathy Phillips released her debut album "Sway" (Black Potatoe) to unexpected success and acclaim. In 2002 Kathy was awarded Best Female Artist and Best Song (for Leaves Changing) by New Jersey’s Courier News/Gannett Newspaper Group. Referring to the Best Song award, the papers wrote “Phillips'' song about out-growing a relationship is good jazzy-folky medicine.”

The CD’s praise and her intimate live performances at local venues such as the Stone Pony and the Stanhope House created a tremendous regional following. Phillips’ smooth polished sound was described as a graceful connection between rock, folk and pop and drew media comparisons to early Natalie Merchant and Edie Brickell. Phillips’ became a compelling indie music force to the point where several tracks from the record were chosen for a popular MTV series.

Five years later Kathy Phillips releases her sophomore CD for Black Potatoe Records entitled CARRIES YOU AWAY. Sticking with a winning sonic formula the CD is once again produced by label owner Matt Angus (Levon Helm, Warren Haynes, Rodney Crowell) and a collection of 11 roots-driven songs of which Phillips wrote eight. Once again Matt and Kathy capture her expressive lyrics, strong melodies, gorgeous harmonies and excellent musicianship.

Despite using the same production techniques, Phillips is uninterested in treading similar musical ground. Rather, she returns with a more expansive Americana leaning collection including a visceral interpretation of The Band’s classic ‘Evangeline.’ This new direction reflects Phillips personal growth and musical evolution garnered from experiences like singing alongside The Harlem Gospel Choir singers and playing festivals as a duo and full ensemble. On this record, Phillips promises to connect with current fans as well as reach new audiences with musical honesty and eloquent stylistic impressions.

Adding the twang to Phillips’ rootsy redirection is Nashville based pedal steel legend Robby Turner of Waylon Jennings/Highwaymen fame and recording partner of Jim Lauderdale, Willie Nelson, John Prine, et al. Other band members include Barry Mitterhoff (Hot Tuna-Jorma) on Mandolin, Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors, Lenny Kravitz) on electric guitar, Matt Angus on guitar and Hammond, Kim Williams on keyboards, violin, and vocals, Walt Bibinger on acoustic guitar, Todd Lanka on bass, Tom Nelson on drums and Travis Wetzel on violin.

"The sophomore release from Kathy Phillips — a mere five years after her debut — showcases a confident talent with a strong, emotive voice who can really craft her songs. There''s a definite country touch to the New Jersey songstress'' material, most notable on tunes like "Walking Out the Door," where she puts on her best Loretta Lynn, but there''s also a very strong pop element to the music on the Sheryl Crow adult pop end of the spectrum, perfectly illustrated by the little gem "Ordinary Day." She can be quite enigmatic in her lyrics, as she is on "Rita," or quite blunt, on the other-woman scenario of "Little Secret." There''s good production by Matt Angus, and the arrangements are varied enough to offer plenty of changeups in the sound. Wherever the album goes, Phillips sounds comfortable and in control, passionate but with enough coolness in her voice that it works very sensually. Perhaps the standout track, though, is "Sleep," which evokes images of Crowded House in its rich arrangement. All in all, Kathy Phillips deserves to break through with this record. "

Chris Nickson

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